Why Are My Chickens Laying Soft Eggs?

Throughout the year, it's not uncommon to ask "why are my chickens laying soft eggs?" This question, however, is most likely to happen in the heat of summer. Even as a seasoned chicken keeper, I have to remind myself this summertime problem is ok and things will return to normal once the weather breaks. Learn why this happens, how to help prevent soft eggs and when to worry...

Summer = Chickens Laying Soft Eggs 

When temperatures rise, chickens cool themselves by panting. This is an effective adaptation to heat as panting helps water evaporate cooling the chicken. Panting also reduces the amount of calcium being put into egg production causing the side effect of chickens laying eggs with thin shells. That’s why you see more soft or shell-less eggs in the summer. It's a good idea to know how to keep your chickens cool in summer weather.

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Chickens Rush Egg Laying When They're Under Stress 

When you’re raising chickens for eggs, it’s best to keep them as stress-free as possible. A soft shell or an egg with just a membrane can happen when a hen rushes laying because of stress. Many things can cause stress for your birds like being startled by a predator or loud noises.

Loud noises don't necessarily have to come from your yard. Are houses being built in your neighborhood? Are loud trucks rumbling down the road? Do you live near a school with recess happening each day? Think like a chicken detective to uncover a potential noise problem.

As a backyard chicken keeper, be sure to learn how to protect chickens from flying predators like hawks and owls and from ground dwellers like raccoons, skunks and dogs.

FUN FACT: Eggshells are 94% calcium!

Age Can Affect Even the Best Chickens For Laying Eggs

As your birds age, they need more calcium. Be sure to always feed your laying hens a balanced commercial feed with added calcium. Also, consider supplementing their calcium intake. A great supplement is to feed your chickens their own shells. Save the used shells, clean and microwave them for a few seconds. When they’re crispy, break them up and mix them with their feed.

Check Your Chicken’s Health

Even if you have the best chickens for laying eggs, soft shells can be a sign of a sick chicken. Symptoms like soft eggs can mean disease has infiltrated your flock. It’s good to check your hens often to make sure your flock is healthy and to catch any signs of distress early.

Overall, the occasional soft egg shell isn’t a cause for concern, just something to keep in mind.

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